Budgeting Without Spreadsheets

Still using spreadsheets?

There’s a good chance that the title Budgeting Without Spreadsheets has sparked your interest because spreadsheets are causing you grief in one form or another.

You might also be surprised to know that according to a recent study of 500 finance professionals, 79% of your professional peers are also unhappy with their current budgeting processes and tools. Furthermore, over 70% of those studied rely heavily on spreadsheets as the core tool with which they build annual budgets.

Issues like lack of collaboration, weak reporting, no audit compliance and the error-prone nature of spreadsheets have lead forward-thinking finance professionals such as yourself to seek a more simple, streamlined and collaborative tool to create budgets. One that saves time and resources and creates more time to conduct analysis and add value to the overall business objectives.

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Budgeting without spreadsheets

This white paper which is designed to be read by finance professionals starts to paint a picture of a better way to budget – one that reduces the frustrations that are built into budgeting when using spreadsheets.

Download your copy and find out why more people are moving beyond spreadsheets towards Corporate Performance Management solutions such as Prophix

Prophix ranked as market leader in the 2019 Words of Crowds Enterprise Performance Management Market Study

 
 

The 2019 Dresner Wisdom of Crowds report has been released and Prophix continues to improve in all categories placing the Corporate Performance Management solution as a market leader in functionality, user experience and customer feedback.

The report is designed to provide key insights into enterprise performance management software supplier performance in order to assist in the decision making process. Consumers use the Wisdom of Crowds® Enterprise Performance Management Market Study to understand how their peers leverage and invest in planning and related technologies. 

Download the full report here.

KNIME 4.0 - Announcing KNIME Hub

KNIME has just announced the latest versions of the analytics platform - KNIME 4.0 and KNIME Server 4.9. The latest versions come with a number of impressive performance and components updates but one feature that we’re particularly excited about is the introduction of KNIME’s new resource platform - KNIME Hub. Learn more about KNIME Analytics

What is KNIME Hub?

KNIME Hub is the place to find KNIME Workflows, nodes and components as well as solutions to your data science challenges. With the KNIME Hub you can:

  • Share your workflows with the KNIME community

  • Browse KNIME extensions and learn about all nodes and explore related workflows to find examples on how to use this extension.

  • Drag and drop nodes or install extensions from the KNIME Hub into your KNIME Analytics Platform

  • Access the community and KNIME Hub from within KNIME Analytics. Open KNIME Hub from within KNIME Analytics, type in your search query and hit enter.

How do I access KNIME Hub?

Simply create an account or use your existing KNIME account and log in to the newly added My-KNIME-Hub Mountpoint from KNIME Analytics Platform 4.0.


For more information on KNIME 4.0, click on the button below.

Prophix - The Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice For Cloud Financial Planning Analysis Solutions

We are excited to share that Prophix has been named the 2019 Gartner Peer Insights Customer's’ Choice for Cloud Financial Planning Analysis Solutions.

As a Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) tool, Prophix supports the office of finance’s budgeting, planning and forecasting efforts by providing robust and streamlined modelling, collaboration, analytics and performance reporting capabilities.

 
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“Delivering a superior customer experience is at the core of who we are at Prophix.

We believe this distinction from Gartner Peer Insights reflects our commitment to creating future ready solutions that allow finance professionals to reframe challenges into opportunities”

Alok Ajmera, President & COO, Prophix Software

 

Peer Insights is an online platform of rating and reviews of IT software and services that are written and read by IT professionals and technology decision-makers. Gartner Peer Insights includes more than 215,000 verified reviews in more than 340 markets.

The Importance of Knowing Your Data

Only a few years ago the very thought of having the kind of access to detailed, resourceful data that we have today would seem highly unlikely.  Making informed organisational based on data from a range of sources was, if at all possible, time consuming and often lacked accuracy.

Today, organisations are collecting more data than ever before and the challenge has become the task of effectively differentiating insightful data from the rest and using it to deliver actionable insight to the business.  Whilst terms like big data and advanced analytics are buzz words in the current environment, the importance of knowing and understanding your data cannot be taken lightly if you want to continue to have a competitive advantage. 

Making key decisions based on a hypothesis or opinion lacks the certainty that indisputable data can provide and, whilst effective data analysis is no longer limited to multinationals and large organisations, the biggest barrier to entry is how to extract and blend data in order to create insightful datasets. 


Where to begin

The first step in deciding what data is beneficial to your organisation is to identify achievable KPI’s that outline the particular objectives you wish to accomplish.  Once these KPI’s have been identified, data can be extracted from a range of sources including Finance, Operations, HR and Marketing systems for blending, manipulation and presentation.

Data Exploration Solutions

Whilst there are plenty of tools on the market available for data cleansing and blending, advanced analytics platform KNIME is a market leading open source solution that gives you the ability to explore, manipulate and analyse large amounts of data with a high degree of ease and accuracy.  With more than 1000 modules, hundreds of ready-to-run examples and the widest choice of advanced analytics algorithms available, KNIME Analytics Platform is the perfect toolbox for analyists regardless of experience.

For the 5th consecutive year, KNIME has been awarded highest rankings on the Gartner Advanced Analytics Magic Quadrant for its ease of use and innovation in the field.  Learn more about KNIME

What if I don’t have the resources for in-house Advanced Analytics?

For many businesses, a flexible and cost-effective alternative option to keeping all data blending, warehousing and presentation in-house is Business Intelligence as a Service (BI-as-a-S). This solution helps obtain a solid Business Intelligence project up and running faster, with less strain on your IT department and without the human and financial capital required with an on-premise project.

Forest Grove Technology’s BI-as-a-S is a simple, flexible option that allows you to focus on the presentation and insight gathering aspects of your data journey. The robust combination of KNIME, Amazon Redshift and your Business Intelligence software of choice makes it an agile solution for a growing business. BI-as-a-S is a fully scalable solution that can start small and grow as your business does thus keeping IT expenditure to a minimum. 

BI-AS-A-S allows you to save time, cost and pressure on IT resources and enables you to spend more time analysing and understanding your data.  Backed by Amazon Redshift, your data is securely stored in a hosted cloud server letting KNIME blend and extract data whilst you’re working on dashboards and visualisations. Learn more about BI-as-a-S

Forest Grove provides project clarity to Rio Tinto

Forest Grove Technology were given the task of providing the Project Controls team within the Iron Ore division a unified end-to-end solution blending source systems, ensure data governance principles are adhered to, build an agile and dynamic data warehouse and providing interactive Power BI dashboards and visualisations.

Forest Grove deployed a combination of KNIME, Amazon Redshift and PowerBI to create an agile, high performing data platform. This solution aligns with their current IT strategy and existing vendor relationships. 

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Learn how Forest Grove Technology has helped Rio Tinto gain a complete 360 degree view of their projects and capital expenditure by combining cost, risk and performance information from multiple systems and architectures.

If you would like to know more about Business Intelligence as a Service or KNIME Advanced Analytics we encourage you to contact us. 

Sentiment analysis with KNIME and Azure Cognitive Services

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With social media playing an increasingly important role in an organisation’s business and marketing objectives, there has never been a more critical time to have a clear understanding of exactly what your customers are saying.

As our Director of Product Strategy and Analytics Craig Cullum demonstrates in this tutorial, building an effective Sentiment Analysis model by leveraging KNIME’s Machine Learning abilities and Azure’s Cognitive Services is not as difficult as you might think.

Have a fully functional Sentiment Analysis model up and running in just a few nodes.

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2019 Prophix Learnathon

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This March customers from across Australia joined us for the inaugural Forest Grove Technology ‘Prophix Learnathon’.  

The Prophix Learnathon was designed to equip and empower end users and other key stakeholders to use Prophix to its full potential in finance and operational teams, and were held in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane.  The complimentary event, hosted by our Senior Prophix Consultant - Luke Bonser - was an exciting combination of hands-on lab sessions, customer case studies and latest feature overviews.

The Learnathon was also a great opportunity for customers to engage with fellow local Prophix Users from the growing Australian community and discuss how they are leveraging the market leading Performance Management Platform to cut budgeting timeframes, increase forecasting accuracy and obtain greater insight. 

Rather than traditional high-level hands on sessions, we were able to tailor the Learnathon towards more experienced end users and provide in-depth discussions around best practice and latest features. Registrants found the hands on sessions particularly valuable in helping them articulate next steps in their organisation’s Prophix journey. 

We have received an overwhelmingly positive response from all who attended the events with registrants stating that the Learnathon was an excellent learning opportunity for new staff, re-engaging key stakeholders and those wanting to take Prophix further within their organisation. 

A big thank you to our customers for helping to make this such a successful event. We look forward to hosting a similar event in the second half of 2019.

If you attended the Prophix Learnathon and are interested in Upgrades or Prophix Expansion, we encourage you to get in touch by clicking on the button below.

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Painting a Picture with Performance Reporting

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In this article, Prophix’s Ron Massicotte defines Performance Reporting, outlines how it can be adopted within any finance team and discusses why it is a critical component of future-proofing your organisation.

What is Performance Reporting

We’ve all faced discrepancies in our cashflow forecasts due to factors outside of the area of finance such as maintenance downtime on plant machinery or a spike of new hires in HR due to a new project. Prophix Performance Reporting delivers automated, scheduled or ad-hoc reports that combine financial, operational, human resource or even marketing data that allows an unprecedented depth of insight into a company’s current position.  

Whilst traditional reporting remains essential in an organisation, as data is becoming increasingly accessible and detailed, the need for highly integrated reports is greater than ever.  Unlike traditional reporting, performance reporting creates a detailed, data-driven narrative of a company’s current position and provides the ‘why’ behind these results. When applied correctly, performance reporting combines financial and non-financial data including production run rates, client satisfaction or employee turnover. 

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Speed and timeliness

Adopting automated Performance Reporting can dramatically cut the time spent on report generation by days or weeks leaving you with more time for analysis

 

Trust between Departments

Discover a new level of trust between departments now that performance reporting delivers transparency and justification amongst more sensitive figures such as budget allocation. 

Flexibility

Prophix delivers flexibility second to none with a web client that allows you to build ad-hoc reports and access or share scheduled traditional reports from wherever you are at any time.  

Transparency

By integrating financial reports with other areas of the business, the rationale behind budget and cashflow predictions can be easily explained.

Discover the Power of Prophix - FREE EVENT

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PERTH | ADELAIDE | MELBOURNE | BRISBANE

Join us this March across Australia for a free, one-day Prophix Learnathon where you will learn new tips and tricks, hear about the latest features and get hands-on with Prophix. 

The Prophix Learnathon will also be a great opportunity to meet other local Prophix Users and discover how they are leveraging the market leading Performance Management Platform to cut budgeting timeframes, increase forecasting accuracy and obtain greater insight.

If you’re new to Prophix or interested in its capabilities and functions then we invite you to the morning session where we take a high level look at functionality, roadmap, ROI and customer case studies.

Build a Serverless Image Recognition Model with KNIME and Amazon AWS Rekognition

Creating an effective image recognition engine can be a difficult task that requires thousands if not millions of curated and tagged images to achieve model accuracy.

Fortunately, major cloud vendors including Amazon AWS, Microsoft and Google provide API’s for their machine learning image recognition services.

In this tutorial our Director of Product Strategy and Analytics Craig Cullum discusses how to build an effective image recognition engine using KNIME Analytics Platform and Amazon AWS Rekognition.

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KNIME recognised as leader in Gartner's 2019 Magic Quadrant

 

It’s no surprise to see that for the sixth year in a row, Gartner has placed KNIME, the open source platform for data driven innovation, as a leader for Data Science and Machine Learning Platforms for 2019 based on ability to execute and completeness of vision.

KNIME continues to innovate by supporting the latest trends in Machine Learning including Python, Spark, H2O and other deep learning platforms and fostering a vibrant and engaging user community. Our clients are amazed at the value it provides at such a low cost often 1/5th the cost of other comparable solutions.

As a leader, it not only demonstrates KNIME’s ability to execute but also through innovation by continuing its commitment to its open source beginnings. KNIME continues to be used the world over, removing the expensive barrier to entry other applications place in the way, transforming businesses.

“We have always believed it is the data science and machine learning community that ultimately decides what the leading platforms are. We are humbled by the response of KNIME users across all industries, continents, and application areas which has helped us achieve this honor,” says Michael Berthold, CEO, KNIME AG. “That community comprises not only users who use our software, but many who also contribute to it.”

“KNIME simply does it all within one platform, allowing you to mix and match and move seamlessly from prototyping to production as required, depending on the problem you are solving,” says Phil Winters, KNIME advocate and “Father of Customer Intelligence”. “For me as an individual, everything I do - regardless of scale - is free. I strongly believe that KNIME has set the standard that others must now scramble to follow.”

“We are continuing to not only add leading edge methods, but are also placing a strong emphasis on blueprints for Guided Analytics and Guided Automation. These are an extremely practical way of helping the KNIME community get “focused AI” applications into the hands of even more users,” continues Berthold. “Our commitment to open source is unwavering. This transparent business model works for everyone and we will keep it that way.”

Click the button below for more information in about KNIME and to download it for free

KNIME ❤️ Snowflake

The competition in the cloud data-warehouse market is certainly hotting up! Amazon continues to be the dominant force with AWS Redshift but Snowflake is hot on their heels.

With Snowflake’s innovative approach to scaling, performance and cost, we’ve started to move all of our KNIME cloud data-warehouse workflows from Redshift to Snowflake and with KNIME’s database nodes we can automatically create and launch Snowflake clusters, databases and configure data sources.

Luckily just like with AWS Redshift, the Snowflake drivers are just as easy to install and configure, find out how below;

KNIME Analytics Platform 3.7 Announcement

 
 

The latest versions of KNIME Analytics Platform and KNIME Server is out now and there is plenty to get excited about.

Some of the highlights in this release are a number of new interactive views (check out the new CardView and Heatmap), new integrations allowing KNIME workflows direct access to Google Drive and Tableau’s Hyper format, and a number of new statistical tests. New XGBoost nodes add access to this well known high performance machine library, while a more hidden gem is the completely new layout editor for composite views of metanodes, which allows you to build your own library of personalized view nodes.

There are also new integrations with Jupyter notebooks and PySpark. Now you can import and run code from Jupyter notebooks directly in your KNIME workflow. Adding Python to your big data workflows is also now possible, allowing you to seamlessly mix and match Python with existing nodes from the KNIME Extension for Apache Spark.

KNIME Server offers new automation and management services for data science and IT teams productionizing workflows and data science applications. Now you can automatically scale your infrastructure with our Distributed Executors and automate remote workflow editing and control. New management services are also available for centrally adding customisations to KNIME Analytics Platform users. Update KNIME to get the latest version, or download and install it here.

Leading NFP Silver Chain selects Prophix to revolutionise and streamline their budget process

Industry: Not For Profit 

Website: www.silverchain.org.au

Number of Employees: +3500

Head Office: Perth, Western Australia

ERP: Microsoft Dynamics

 
 
 

One of Australia’s most prominent and well recognised not for profit organisations, Silver Chain has selected Prophix to revolutionise and streamline their complex budget process.

With over 3500 employees and another 500 volunteers, Silver Chain provides community health and aged care services across Australia, enabling people of all ages to continue living at home through a range of at-home services.

Silver Chain went to market seeking a tool that can provided dramatic improvements on the cycle of their current budget process as well as enable seamless integration of financial and operational data.    

The Silver Chain Finance Team were highly impressed with the solution’s overall functionality, effectiveness and ease of implementation considering the size and complexity of the project.  The new Prophix 12 Web Admin Interface which allows users to access and build reports anywhere and, on any device, will provide Silver Chain with unprecedented flexibility and control.  

Silver Chain also valued the fact that Prophix has established itself as the Corporate Performance Management (CPM) solution of choice amongst the Not-For-Profit and Aged-Care sectors thanks to its flexibility, ease of implementation and integration capabilities.  

The Prophix solution will significantly reduce the time spent on Silver Chain’s budgets and give stakeholders more time for planning and strategic analysis.

Rio Tinto select Forest Grove Technology to help improve their Project Controls and Reporting Capabilities

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One of Western Australia’s leaders in data warehousing and business intelligence, Forest Grove Technology has been appointed by Rio Tinto to deliver a Management Information (MI) Reporting System for the Asset Management and Engineering Service division.

Rio Tinto went to tender in early 2018 and Forest Grove were selected soon after with this project representing the first use case for the mining magnate to utilize market-leading Advanced Analytics software KNIME.

The Business Intelligence as a Service (BI-as-a-S) project will initially focus on improved reporting in Cost Control and Earned Value Management, Finance, Risk Management and Planning with expansion plans to a number of other management divisions.  

By gathering and analysing all the data available to them across their projects, the Project Controls team can leverage this to assist them in effective management and decision making, lowering risk and influencing both time and cost outcomes of a project.  

KNIME, which is at the core of this solution, leverages Rio Tinto’s existing Redshift in-cloud data warehouse, and provides the ability to prep, blend and analyse their entire data set within a platform that is workflow driven and easy to use. Learn more about KNIME

This takes a typical Data Warehouse project from months and even years, down to weeks and ushers in an agile analytical process into the organisation.

Rio Tinto were impressed with the calibre, flexibility and scalability of the solution and have indicated that this along with local support were key factors that led to them selecting Forest Grove Technology.

Whilst a relatively newer player in the Advanced Analytics arena, KNIME has been crowned market leaders in the areas of ‘Ease of Use’ and ‘Visionaries’ in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant Review for the fifth year in a row.

Forest Grove’s BI-AS-A-S solution draws from a range of data sources including Oracle, SQL and Excel, and transforms the data through KNIME workflows in preparation for the MI Reporting.  

KNIME’s data cleansing capabilities allow previously incompatible data to be consolidated and transformed for insight gathering and complex reporting.  As an open source product, KNIME brings a proven level of scalability and customization that alternative advanced analytics platforms struggle to achieve.

Forest Grove Technology is one of Australia’s leading suppliers of management reporting, budgeting/forecasting software, business intelligence (BI) and Advanced Analytic solutions.  With over 100 customers throughout Australia and New Zealand, Forest Grove Technology enables organisations to make better decisions with better information.

 
 

Leveraging Artificial Intelligence in the Office of Finance

 

Many of us have personal digital assistants in our homes that can play our favourite song or order groceries with a voice command. And as much as robust technologies make our personal lives run a bit more smoothly, there is similar potential for Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language queries, and Machine Learning to transform the Office of Finance.

Organisations are making strides in understanding data around market trends, customer sentiment, and engagement, but they aren’t making the connection back to the bottom line. The next steps involve automated Machine Learning and data management to make the process more seamless and robust.

A majority (62%) of Finance Executives report that they will make significant investments in AI over the next three years, according to PwC’s Digital IQ research. Gains from Robotics Process Automation (RPA) and basic AI will provide the building blocks for finance to later achieve more dramatic gains with advanced AI, setting the stage to go beyond using AI and related technologies for only routine transactions.

Download this complimentary white paper and discover how cloud-based computing will drive adoption of AI improving productivity through fewer errors and higher output.

 
AI White Paper
 

Discover KNIME - Free Half Day Test Drive

Gartner's number 1 open source, self-service data connectivity and data consolidation platform.

 

DATE: 17 August, 2018

TIME: Registrations from 8:30am  |  Sessions commence 9:00am

WHERE: Cliftons Perth (191 St Georges Tce, WA 6000)

 

Join us in Perth on the 17th of August for the Forest Grove Discover Series and get hands on with KNIME Advanced Analytics software. Learn how the open source platform seamlessly cleans and structures data, and integrates with your Business Intelligence function.  If you have implemented any data analytics application, even a very simple one, you will know that data cleaning is a huge key to success. Present poor quality, dirty data to the model and the model will produce poor quality, dirty classification/prediction results.  

The Discover KNIME series will explore the data blending, advanced analytics and in-cloud big data processing capabilities within KNIME, and discuss business cases where this solution has provided tangible business outcomes.  Whether you are looking for advanced analytics or an application to help you blend and prepare your data for reporting and business intelligence, this session will prepare you with lessons and equip you with a tool that you can start using the very next day.

A CFO’s Guide to Optimal Cash Flow Planning

Cashflow Management
 

Moving beyond stand-alone spreadsheets for forecasting cash needs

 

While CFOs live in their profit and loss statements and their balance sheets, these only provide a look in the rear-view mirror. Organizations need to focus on what lies ahead. Stand-alone spreadsheets may provide a comfort zone for the finance team but they have significant limitations in terms of accuracy and timeliness and they aren’t efficient forecasting tools.

Progressive finance professionals keep their eyes on the road in front of them. An organization’s cash flow plan — including a solid revenue forecast and a budget for expenses — should be a future-looking exercise with metrics along the way to track progress.

Download the complimentary white paper and discover how CFO's can foster a culture of cash flow management throughout their organisation, and develop strategies for measuring success.